Looking for advice and encouragement

Some years ago my job required that I take a good many notes and I decided to try my hand at Notehand. I worked my way through a good part of the book, but the job ended before I acquired any real facility with Notehand.

Now I’m back in a job that requires notes, and taking a graduate program in Historic Preservation. So I pulled out my book and notebook from 1986. I had gotten to paragraph 123 (out of 171). And, wonder of wonders, I can still read much of my notes although I have to check some of the outlines.

My problem, though, is that I never acquired much facility at writing the outlines. I could read them okay, but writing was much less certain. I’m following the instructions to read the material referring to the text key, then read and copy, and finally I would try to write the outlines from the text key alone. If I had just finished copying from the outlines, I did okay, but if I waited a while they would all go out of my head. As for making real notes, well twenty years ago I could sort of doing it, but as I say, not with any confidence or facility.

I’d sure like to hear someone say, “Keep it up, it will come to you before you graduate!” And any suggestions are appreciated.

(by john19970 for everyone)

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  1. Keep it up, it will come to you before you graduate!   Though, not to be too cheeky, it will come.  It takes practice.  It take reinforcement.  And it takes a little time to sythesize it all.  No one starts shorthand and writes confidently or particularly well early on.  The Notehand version is still shorthand and learning shorthand is much like learning a different language.    The best thing you can do is review, review, review.  Copying from shorthand is also good practice to help fix the outlines in your head.  From what I've seen of the Notehand materials, there's not a lot of reading and writing material inherent in the text.  With shorthand proper, there's usually more material available to you for reading and writing practice.  Writing from printed text isn't a bad form of practice, it's just easier to reinforce the shorthand with reading material in shorthand.    When you finish the text, start at the beginning again and go through it again.  You really can't ever go through the theory book too many times.    Good luck.  There's always someone around here who can help your study.    Peter

  2. Hey, Peter, the benefits for taking notes should come really quickly even if you don't recall a ton of forms as you write because you can always write just the words you know in shorthand and anything else in longhand. I noticed I was saving writing time by like my third week of studying Gregg and you are already building on your memory. Using shorthand doesn't just save time, it cuts down the time you're semi-paying attention as you compose notes on paper while a lecture continues. But in my experience, only those forms you definitely know. Construcing forms on the fly for everything means paying even less attention than if you write in longhand!   If your writing was and is shakey or imperfect, you might try tracing the outlines over the pages with tracing paper or something translucent. I started teaching myself in April for notetaking too, and found once my hand got used to following the expert's shapes, the direction of the flow of the pen, my shorthand not only looked better, I wrote it faster. The shapes just started "making sense" (though that explanation may not). My early ability to reproduce what I saw on the printed page with my hand writing freehand was weak. When I actually traced the forms, whole paragraphs, my hand started to gain the muscle memory of how to write them with smoothness, not to mention the reinforcement that writing the words and saying them aloud did for recalling them.   From my research, Notehand has little written in it, only three textbooks that I've seen. Notehand is most similar to the 1963 forward versions of Gregg – Diamond Jubilee Series, Series 90, and Centennial. The vast majority of words will be identical in all four of them, so if you need practice reading, the easiest to follow will be something from these versions (mostly textbooks). Beware: Notehand "they" = "that" in most other Gregg versions.

  3. John's looking for the encouragement.  :_)  I'm an Anniversary writer.    The ith-a for they bugged me when I looked at Notehand (I didn't see any thing re Notehand until I was well out of shorthand use on a daily basis.)  They (ith-e) is presented so early and the word is used so much, I found that one thing very jarring. 

  4. Yes, I remember reading something about Notehand … but I had to Google it (and found a link to a thread here from a few years ago!).

    If you really do not have much facility with Notehand already, why not consider learning "regular" Gregg? You can still get Gregg Simplified (cheap!) on Amazon dot com:


    Be aware that "Simplified" does not mean dumbed down. It was the standard Gregg taught in high schools in the 1950s and early 1960s (from 1949 to 1963).

  5. John — from what you're describing, you are using the second edition of the Notehand book, which contains 171 paragraphs in 70 units (the first edition had 172 paragraphs in 70 units). Both editions are essentially the same, with the exception of the brief form for "work": in the first one (1960), "work" is written as "r-k", and in the second edition (1968), it is written as "u-k". The good news is that since you are already at paragraph 123, you only have two more units to complete the study of all the principles of Notehand. The rest of the book is basically a review and reinforcement of the principles of word construction, and additional reading and writing practice (which incidentally, I happen to like, because they are interesting selections, and not necessarily business related). So indeed very few new principles are left for you to learn.

    Like others have said, the key to being facile at notehand/shorthand is to practice, not only writing, but also reading. That should help cement the outlines in the brain so that you can write them without hesitation. Another source of practice is the newspaper or a story book. Once you have finished studying all of the principles, choose a favorite story, highlight words that you may have trouble writing (this is known as previewing the material) and write those out first. Then, copy the material in Notehand. You will notice that with the preview, you can eliminate most of the uneasiness in your writing. This is actually a good exercise in your case, because since you will not be using Notehand to take dictation — only for taking notes — you don't need to work the speed. Concentrate on writing good notes, speed will come later.

    Lastly, don't give up. I believe that with good motivation, you can dominate this skill. And later on, if you want to add more abbreviations, you can take additional brief forms from other series of Gregg.

    If you have additional questions, don't hesitate to post here. Good luck!

  6. John,

    Your assumption that one automatically writes a familiar outline correctly with little or no thought is correct. Of late we've had many meetings at work about eminent consolidation and downsizing and I've had no problems paying attention to the speaker and what he is saying while making accurate notes. I'm not trying to take verbatim speech but it's very comfortable (for me) to write key points in Gregg which more or less summarize what the manager is saying and, if necessary, take a portion of the message verbatim.

    My base Gregg is Anniversary with a few bits tacked on from Pre-Anniversary. No, I'm not that old! LOL. I took 2 years of Gregg (Simplified) in high school and during the second year taught myself Anniversary using the Manual and Speed Studies (3rd Edition). Had not used shorthand for several decades when I discovered this group and my interest was reawakened. Through the group I became aware of more advanced texts which I acquired and am thorougly enjoying using Gregg on a daily basis.

    There is a heck of a lot to memorize in the way of brief forms and phrasing with Anniversary and before, so if you just want basic Gregg, I'd advise you to choose Simplified which is a very well thought out version with consistent rules and using analogy more than earlier editions makes vocabulary building less difficult for there are fewer "ad hoc" outlines and exceptions which must simply be learned thoroughly to prevent hesitation in outline formation.

    Although if you have the 2 volumes of the Anniversary Functional Manual and are already familiar with Notehand (I am not), I'd wager you'd like Anniversary and have no problems going through the theory. Also note that if you know Anniversary, you can usually read the later versions with little or no problems.

    Good luck.

  7. My one gripe about this site is that you're not afforded the opportunity to correct your text.

    Of course we have eminent management (in the vein of Richileu and Mazarin if you enjoy Dumas, but the consolidation is imminent.

  8. The notion of finishing at least Part I of the Notehand book and then moving to a regular shorthand book as both a step up and a review is feeling like the right thing to do.   The two systems most people here seem to be using are Anniversary and Simplified.  I have to say the Anniversary book seems much more "adult" than the Diamond Jubilee book I looked at.  One of the reasons I went with Notehand in the first place was that there was lots of reading practice material, and it was at least a little more diverse than the repetitious business letters in Diamond Jubilee.  I haven't gotten a feel for the Simplified material yet.    I find it a lot easier to learn general rules, than vocabulary.  So the rules in Anniversary about where to put circle vowels in relation to angles or curves has served me well while learning outlines in Notehand.   Any thoughts on my concern about unique, unambiquous outlines?  Should I just not be concerned?  Perhaps if there's no context I can deliberately spell out outlines which would otherwise be ambiquous?

  9. I don't think you need to worry about having unique, unambiguous outlines.  For some, you just can't get around the fact that the outline can stand for more than one word — context and your familiarity with the material will clear up any confusion.  Series 90 was just a longer version of DJS.  I first learned Series 90 and quickly switched over to Anniversary.  Simplified is a very good version of Gregg to learn.  The only advantage of Anniversary that would appeal to you is the fact that there's more reading material out there of a non-business letter nature. 

  10. From Notehand to Simplified is a far easier jump to take than from Notehand to Anniversary. You will feel that the principles are basically the same, save some additional blends and brief forms. (Anniversary has more rules, which will make more sense and be easier to swallow once you know a full version of shorthand, such as Simplified.) I would just finish the last two units of Part 1 of the Notehand second edition book, and then jump to the Simplified functional manual right afterwards, because you will see the first lessons of Simplified will serve as a review for you.

  11. John (sorry for referring to you as Peter earlier), identical outlines were a real obstacle for me deciding to learn shorthand. It turns out ambiguous forms for me is definitely an annoyance in reading back notes, but a rare one. When I read back the phrase from my notes "she fills the order to be beautiful," say "huh?", and then realize it should read "she feels the odd to be beautiful," well, that's annoying. But there may be a relatively easy fix that doesn't slow down writing shorthand. If you review notes relatively soon after taking them, which is probably a good idea anyway, as you encounter words you misread (even momentarily), president for precedent, bend for bent, partly for party, live for leave, insert a clarifying tick mark under/in the form to remind yourself next time what the word really is. Although I've settled in on DJS/Series90/Centennial, I basically use the original Gregg vowel marks (pre-Anniversary?) plus I've added a third so that I can distinguish any vowel exactly, since the A, E, O, and U vowels can stand for basically three sounds each. Another mark can distinguish a voiced from non-voiced consonant (bend/bent). I've got  a couple other marks but I won't bore you. For anything left unclear you can just write the word in longhand or even a letter or two to clue you. It sounds clunky, but it's actually pretty rare that words aren't mostly obvious. I add maybe 1 to 3 tick marks per page and it's really fast and just part of reviewing the notes. I'm starting to add the ticks automatically as I write shorthand to words I've misread before. I suspect that the disconnected phrases of note-taking may be more prone to ambiguous reading. I can mostly zip through reading a business letter because they're full sentences within a given context. My own notes can be all over the place with less context. The earlier Gregg versions do have a lot more material to practice reading and more interesting.

  12. It is easy to get confused about who is who in the message postings.

    I'm coming to the understanding that the ambiquity can be resolved.

    I was looking over an Anniversary manual this afternoon, and was able to easily read the material in the first few lessons. Then I hit the one with about six brief forms for letters: "yours very truly," "sincerely yours," that sort of thing. My emotional heart said "we don't need to learn those brief forms." And my sensible brain said "It's just a handful, and learning them will let us read a lot more material. So stop whining and learn them!" So to some extent it's emotional fear plus the fact that I do have trouble with plain rote memorization. I rarely need to look up any of the phone numbers I use routinely, but I can't remember a new number until I've written it and used it a few times. So, probably the same things for the various word outlines.

    I really appreciate all the advice the group is giving me. Thanks to all. Oh, in another thread someone recommended Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pens. I got some tonight–at a first try they work really well. I put the cap on the back of the pen for balance :-).

  13. Context is key indeed: I believe that having unambiguous and unique outlines is in some cases overkill. The way Gregg is structured, when an outline corresponds to two or more words, the words are usually different parts of speech. For example, d – r is the brief form for during (a verb) and doctor (a noun). The m stroke represents am (a verb) and more (an adverb). The g stroke can be good (adjective) or go (a verb). That is one of the reasons why context works, because otherwise it wouldn't make sense.

  14. Welcome!

    Make circles and S in direction the text shows, even if it's not important in the version you choose. That will make it easier to switch to an older version. Also, if you do switch, keep a chart of brief forms in each system, to look for conflicts.

    Brief forms vs regular words. Regular words, like "said", can be created on the fly and read cold, given just the rules. Brief forms, though, need to be created with the entire system in mind, to avoid conflicts. If you try reading a brief form using the rules, you get something related but not quite enough, like L-E (let) and L-E-T (letter).

    Each word goes through several stages as you learn it, from "string the rules together" through "have seen it before" to "single entity with no thought". English has a really sharp curve for word frequency — if you're really fast with the common words, you can be slow as molasses with the rest without affecting your overall speed. High speed writers have more words in the faster categories, and can apply the rules quickly for new words.

    There are more rules than the one-page summary. When to use each direction for S, TH and circles. When to use a blend or separate the shapes. When to leave out a sound (and therefore when to try inserting while reading). The 5000 Most Common Words (anni) on Andrew's site and Gregg Speed Studies (Anni, 3rd edition) give a good workout for each rule.

    I still struggle with words out of context in my own notes, but it's getting better. Slowly, I'm learning which words need a bit more context, while at the same time "priming my brain" so I know which words to "try" when reading, and need less context.

    The brief forms for business letters aren't that difficult. The context restricts the options. They're usually one letter per word, put in different orders. Picking and choosing which sections to learn is risky — you don't know what gaps will come back to haunt you as you learn more. If I were writing a shorthand manual, though, I'd leave them to a chapter near the end on business letters.

    Spelling out the brief forms helps, at least as an exercise. I also put them in alphabetical order by "Gregg spelling". There are some helpful patterns, such as the "S-P with an E somewhere" and L, LE, LET, which you don't see in the order they're taught.

    Another thing about this group: We hardly ever see text-message abbreviations!



  15. After a weekend working with the Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pen, I think I prefer my fine tip ball point. But the Varsity is a nice writer. I used to use a Parker, and often got ink on my fingers, no such problem with these. They write smoothly on the papers I've tried. And if you like your outlines made with a medium point, you may well like them.

  16. Thanks for the good advice Cricket and all. I appreciate it (so much that I deleted the message in which I hadn't put in a thank you — courtesy does seem important).

    So I'm taking the advice of trying the Anniversary system. I plan to give it a try for four weeks and if I'm making reasonable progress I'll keep with it. It's a very different process from using the Notehand book. The student was obviously supposed to do this without the crutch of a transcript, and I'm finding it more satisfying to figure it out than to just flip to the back. I'm noticing the subtle differences in the form, for instance. h-e-r is "here" and e.r is "her."

    My next question is, with self study, how do I know when I'm ready to move on to the next chapter? I hear and heed the admonition not to skip ahead. In a class environment of the fifties I would have gotten lots of feedback. But studying on my own, I've come to the point where I have the sentences in Chapter 1 memorize. I've also started on the Fundamental Drills. But, no, I can't write them smoothly yet. The books (Notehand for instance) focus on reading. I suspect they're leaving it to the in class teacher to supervise the writing.

  17. You can move on to the next lesson when you feel you've grasped the principles presented so far.  If you are using the Functional Method Anniversary Manuals, there's a lot of material following the lessons for reinforcement and reading practice.  If you can read the material fluently (and it make take a couple of readings), it's pretty safe to move on to the next Assignment.  One thing about the functional method is that is based on reading for much of the early part of the book.  Also, the functional method did away with "rules."  The material in the book was meant for presentation in the classroom — so the key at the back is very important to clear up any confusion.  In the second volume, the transcript stops at Assignment 59.  After that you're on your own.    Welcome to the Anniversary family.  🙂 

  18. There is really no difference in the way to progress in Anniversary as compared to other series of shorthand — you move forward when you know the material well. Since you will be using the Functional method manuals (I believe you said that you have the books), the first 21 assignments will be strictly reading. Reading and writing will start with Assignment 22. That is the unique feature of the functional method: reading a lot before writing the first instance of shorthand. In your case, since you already have taken Notehand, you can start writing as well. Incidentally, the first lessons are the hardest to write, because there is not much variety in the strokes. They get better as you move on.

  19. Actually the Anniversary Functional manuals haven't arrived yet (I had just bought them on eBay when I mentioned them).  So I've been working from the 1929 Anniversary manual.  I'm still in the first chapter, and I'm finding that I like it because it is sparse.  I also like having the "rules" because once I've read the rule I can look at an outline and understand why the loop goes one way rather than the other for instance.  I am trying to write all the outlines.  Plus I have the "Fundamental Drills" book which gives a lot of graded reading material.  I like the fact that it uses the outlines and brief forms in lots of different structures, I find it helps me get in the habit of distinquishing say "go" from "good" depending on the context.  Just this short time has done a lot to give me confidence that I really can read the outlines without needing a key (although, yes, I've now found the Anniversary manual key on angelfishy:-).   Over the years there seem to have been a number of different approaches to teaching Gregg.  And none of them seem to be really geared to self study.  A distinction, I think, is that the early manuals assume that the student will be self-motivated and interested only in the techniques of shorthand.  The later books that I've seen spend more time motivating and telling the student how great it will be to have a career as a secretary.  Even the Notehand book spends as much or more time on note taking techniques as it does on the shorthand technique.  I'm looking forward to seeing where the functional manuals fall on this spectrum.   To me "knowing the material well" means that I should be able to write the sentences from dictation, and I'm definitely finding that more than a bit difficult to do (bear in mind that I never tried to take dictation when I was working with Notehand).

  20. Thanks for the feedback. I'm getting there. I can pretty much read everything in Chapter1, and also the Chapter 1 material from Fundamental Drills. If I take my time I can write it reliably from the text, and even better I can read my notes the next day. If I try to write it while someone reads it, it's much harder to keep up. I forget some of the phrases and brief forms.

    During the day, I'm using some of the frequent words as I take notes — and I can read them later.

    So I still have work to do in Chapter one, but definitely feel I'm making progress, and with the Anniversary material that I was so concerned about.

  21. Knowing the material means that you can read and write (whether from dictation or not) without difficulty. For example, in the first unit you should be able to write a sentence like "I am ill, I cannot go there in a day.", and read it from shorthand easily.

  22. With the Functional Method manual, you will have lots (and I mean lots) of material to practice. That's why I love those books. As a matter of fact, I learned shorthand from the functional method books on my own when I was about to enter college, with the same motivation as yours: to take better notes. The side effect of studying shorthand was that then I could take dictation without difficulty, even though I wasn't even practicing taking dictation. So that will come later, don't worry.

    Probably the biggest adjustment will be to undo some of the principles that you already learned. But that should be very minimal, because even with Notehand, Gregg is pretty consistent across series.

    You are reading the regular manual and the fundamental drills book. Those are pretty good books. The only other book I would recommend, in addition to the functional method books, is Gregg Speed Studies, Third Edition (make sure is the third edition). The third edition of this book correlates very well with both the regular and functional method books, and will give you additional reading/writing practice.

    Another recommendation would be on how to study, as you will have four books to tap on. I would use the Functional Method manual as the basis, then use the regular manual to complement the lesson (so that you can see the rules if needed). Lastly, use the Gregg Speed Studies to reinforce the material and the Fundamental Drillls as a testing source: if you can read and write Fundamental Drills without difficulty, you then can go to the next assignment.

    Lastly, read aloud your shorthand lesson. This is very important, as you will associate sound with the written representation. This is not unlike learning to read.

  23. Continuing thanks for the good advice and for all the people who contribute to messages in the group.

    I'm about to allow myself to move on from Chapter 2 in Anniversary. I've been reading the functional manual, trying to write the exercises from the Anniversary Manual, and trying to compose little sentences from the frequently used words, brief forms, and phrases in the manual. So it's taking longer than my original plan. I haven't begun working in Gregg Speed Studies, but I have the recommended third edition.

    Every so often as I read the various posts I think that I should really drop back to Simplified. I had already picked up the First edition manual, the functional method, and a dictionary. After all, I want shorthand as a tool to support my life, not a profession or a life of its own, and to all appearances Simplified would be very acceptable. But then, when I encounter some new brief form and ask why I'm bothering to learn this, I look in the Simplified Dictionary and the same outline is used in Anniversary and Simplified. Two exceptions have been "move" and "systems" and I can see that in casual use adding the extra information would make those easier. But I don't have any trouble recognizing them while reading. And, the final argument, the reading material in Anniversary is more interesting than the business letters.

    So, that's my progress report, for what it's worth.

  24. I feel strongly that the memory load of both Anniversary and Simplified is greatly exaggerated in the minds of those who've not patiently gone through the Manual of either edition.

    Both Manuals start slowly with the most common words used in the English language. Neither version loads you down with lots of brief forms … they are slowly introduced in each lesson at the rate of perhaps 5 or 6. Note that you're not supposed to jump to the next lesson before mastering the one you're currently studying.

    It may be that in today's world the Gregg texts aren't ideal for self study, because you must realize DJS and subsequent editions were meant for classroom use with an experienced teacher to guide and motivate you. And normally it took two high school semesters to teach the Manual, then two more semesters to build speed with dictation and transcription skills. A motivated self-study student who actually devotes an hour daily to the material would (I suspect) be able to complete either Anniversary or Simplified and remember the theory within several months as opposed to the two years of high school required when shorthand was part of the public school system.

    But I don't wish to play Devil's Advocate with John. If he's happy so far with Anniversary, I would not try to dissuade him … especially since there's so much interesting literature available. But should he decide to go with Simplified or a later version … more power to him.

    Whichever version John chooses, I'm sure any question he might have can be answered helpfully if he asks this group. I'm just pleased after all these years that there's anyone out there who wants to learn a version of Gregg!

  25. JohnnyW, sounds as though you've gone through a lot of the same thoughts that I've had. Also, I spent quite a bit of time learning Notehand many years ago. So as I go through the first couple chapters of Anniversary, I'm finding a lot of familiar forms, and learning the rules.

    Where I hesitate is at words like move which is just m-oo in Anniversary. Right now I have no trouble recognizing or writing it. I just wonder if it wouldn't be nice to have m-oo-v a year or two later when the notes are cold. Similarly for system which is ss in Anniversary. Adding a tem would surely make it more readable later. The saving grace is that in context it will probably be the case that m-oo will have only one possible interpretation. There are some other words where I've said oh, please, give me a vowel. But again, a little thought and context seems to make it work.

    JRGAnniversary has a definite point that the memory load in Anniversary (so far) doesn't seem that bad in comparison to all the other material that you have to learn. I'm just getting to the rules about eliminating r and reversing the vowel.

    I promised myself four weeks with Anniversary and that will take me through much of Chapter III. Then I can think about it. Yes, I've looked at DJS and it does look very sensible for someone who just wants to take notes. But, despite my comment about note taking utility, I'm still enjoying the challenge of learning.

    But I do need to be realistic with myself about how much maintenance I want to do. I'd like to hear from those experienced with Anniversary and even Simplified just how much work they have to do to keep their knowledge sharp once it's learned. Is it like a bicycle and once you've mastered it all, it just sort of stays. Or do you need to pull out the speed studies a few hours a week in order to keep yours skills challenged?

  26. The difficulty does not lay in the brief forms. The stuff that has taken me a long time:

    — Complex joinings and sounds left out. The manual does take a logical but complex approach. Do you write the second 'a' sound in "attach" — no because it is hard to write that joining. Do you write the 'e' in teach — Yes! Do you write the 'a' in repair — Yes, Do you write it in 'compare' — No! (but that could be cause compare is a brief form).

    — Derivatives of words and brief forms — for the simple ending 'er' theres a few different ways depending on the case. Sometimes its a joined 'r' Greater, sometimes its a disjoined r 'fewer'. Sometimes its a reserve loop "faster". In the case of the brief form "master" its left out.

    You don't have to be a genius to figure these out on the fly. In reality with experience all this will end up coming to you naturally. You just have to be patient!

  27. My impression of Diamond Jubilee is that it is simpler in that it just writes out most things, such as the -er endings.

    I can see how that would be slower, even a little harder to write (my recollection of notehand was that the outlines were a lot longer than in Anniversary), but easier to remember what to write, and easier to read.

    And for general notetaking, diaries, drafting documents, that would be a positive thing.

    The other side of that coin is that in some ways the simpler outlines of Anniversary are easier to write accurately.

    I think, as with much of life, you makes your choices, and pays the price. Gregg really seems to be remarkably consistent through all the years. The various versions may be better suited for different tasks, but it's probably more important to pick a system and learn it.

    Another thought is that to me the presentation is as much a factor as the system.

  28. The maintenance to keep Anniversary current?  Hmmm.  A lot depends on how much you used it when you learned it and how well you learned it.    Once I stopped writing every day, my actual writing speed decreased rather quickly.  There was a long period when I didn't even pick up a pen.  But I would get out a book and read.  I could read the shorthand fast, but with the writing there seemed to be a disconnect.  Now that I'm working in earnest, I found that the writing was the hardest part.  Up until recently, I was thinking I was just too old, too fried and too slow to do the shorthand thing.  Then just as I was getting demoralized, I suddenly found I was taking 100 for five minutes with pretty well written notes.  It was like the fog lifted.    Other than reversing circles to represent "r", the only major difference in the versions of theory is the use of the disjoined word beginnings and endings.  I find them to be a great help in writing complex words.  Also, the phrasing principles are somewhat more advanced than in the later editions.   Everyone's need is different.  And the purposes to which they use their shorthand are different.  If you're not going to be working for high speed (120+), just about any version of Gregg will do for you just fine.  If you want some really good speed, Anniversary and Pre-Anniversary are your best starting points.  Once you get through the manual, and if you've done it correctly and absorbed the principles, the memory load doesn't seem to be a problem. 

  29. I have to agree with AnniversaryFan1.  I was self-taught in Anniversary and hit 140-150 (for five minutes).  The moment you stop using/reinforcing your shorthand, it fades VERY quickly.  My own speed seems to settle back to about 90 after extended disuse.  In case anyone is wondering, I haven't made my living with shorthand for a good 20 years but I do use it for notes in meetings and the like.  And I've cranked it back up to 120+ a number of times during that period.  Unfortunately, my cranker is taking long the older I get!   My own personal opinion is that writing out forms, while slower, will probably stay with someone who is not constantly using their shorthand for a longer period of time than the myriad of brief forms, special forms, abbreviating-principled forms, forms with joined/disjoined word beginnings and endings, etc., that we Anniversary and Pre-Anniversary folks learned.  In my practice session last night, I hit "prpt" and had to check the transcript to remember that it was a brief form for "property."  I felt like an idiot.  Who of us hasn't encountered a word and thought It's a brief form!  Oh no!  HOW DO I WRITE IT? only to have the dictation whiz by while we hesitate with a frozen pen.   Marc  

  30. I had not actually used shorthand since 1972 or 1973 when I was called upon to keep minutes of various meetings. A couple of years ago when housecleaning I ran across some steno books … and was surprised that I could read those notes tthat were more than 30 years old with little effort. Surprisingly, once I started to read some of the books which my grandparents had preserved with all my college texts – in particular Gregg Speed Building for Colleges ca. 1945 edition – most came back quickly. I did order a few books and "literary gems" from eBay and now make a point of READING Anniversary and Pre-Anniversary texts for a few minutes a day. I started to keep a journal in shorthand and now take notes on meetings in Gregg. 'T'is true I don't remember all the brief forms and sometimes write a word out but the important thing is that I write some part of a "new" word or half-remembered abbreviation with no hesitation. If you looked through my current notes, you'd find movie written M-U-E and M-U-V-E … but that doesn't worry me as I'm systematically reviewing all the brief forms. Thanks to a member of this group I have a key for a book that has some really cool Pre-Anniversary phrases and I have been working for over a year with the Anniversary "Expert" book by Blanchard. Mind you, I've been doing this for fun, only a few minutes a day. So:

    AF1 is 100% correct. If you have learned the chosen version the correct way, it's like many skills – you really won't forget how to do it or use it. The real key to long-term retention is proper study at the beginning. Trust Chuck's advice. He knows whereof he speaks!


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